Cuban officials announced this week that they are studying cryptocurrency’s potential for boosting the communist nation’s economy, Reuters reports. That economy has been under increasing pressure, due to recent tightening of the U.S. trade embargo, reduced exports, and declining aid from Cuba’s socialist ally, Venezuela.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel and other officials made the announcement during a roundtable appearance on the country’s state-run television network. Those officials outlined plans for a series of measures to fuel growth, increase production, and expand consumer demand.
Economy Minister Alejandro Gil Fernandez said:
“We are studying the potential use of cryptocurrency ... in our national and international commercial transactions, and we are working on that together with academics.”
The new economic measures will also mandate increase income for about one-fourth of Cuba’s population. The new directives will increase wages and pensions for public administration, state-run media, and social services workers, “bringing the medium monthly wage in those sectors up to the equivalent of $44.5 from around $25 previously.”
Other economic reforms will include some decentralization of state-run enterprises and the establishment of a financial services industry to help provide cash “more quickly than the centralized planning system.” More companies may also be allowed to keep a portion of their earned hard currency. The current system requires them to immediately reinvest profit, which forces many firms to rely on credit.